This may seem like a boring topic but it is a very important one. Every day we see potential landlords rushing in to buy an HMO as they see high returns and good profits from Shared Houses. They may well take a 3-bedroom house, turn the sitting room and dining room into bedrooms and think job done! If only it was that easy. What a lot of landlords fails to think about when buying HMOs is the minimum size standards of bedrooms and communal areas along with the number of bathrooms and loos needed to the number of people in the property.
A small caveat to this blog post would be, each local authorities standards may well vary from area to are and this blog post is trying to give more of an overview and getting you to think about it than telling you exactly what size that small bedroom will be as it may be different for lots of landlords all over the country, however, the basic principles will apply all over the country.
Firstly you need to think about the minimum size of a bedroom that is allowed to be let out. In most places that is 6.5 M2. Anything under than is NOT allowed to be rented as a bedroom to a tenant. This is different from letting a whole house to a family. That means all those box rooms than landlords think they can get away by sticking a tenant in, you NEED to double check the room is at least 6.5 M2.
The next thing which a lot of landlords fail to think about is the size of the communal areas. Yes, that’s right there are minimum standards that a kitchen and living space has to be. This varies depending on the number of tenants living in the property and obviously the more tenants you have, the larger the communal areas must be.
In general, where you have up to FOUR people in your shared house then you will be required to have a kitchen which is a minimum size of 6 m2 and have a communal space of 17 m2. Your kitchen can obviously be 17 m2 and count as communal space.
Where you have 5 tenants in a property your kitchen must be 7 m2 and you are required to have a minimum of 18 m2 of communal space.
Six tenants requires a kitchen no smaller than 9 m2 with communal space of at least 20 m2.
7-10 tenants in a property requires that the kitchen is 11 m2 and the communal space 27.5 M2.
So what counts as communal space, well any sitting room, dining room/area and utility rooms count towards it and some larger bedrooms with sofas in would also count.
The last thing I would like to touch upon is the ratio of bathrooms and loos to the number of tenants. These are known as Amenity Standards in relation to the number of persons and are important as if you don’t meet them, you won’t be allowed to let your property out as an HMO or shared house. Again, these depend on the number of people in the property and might also vary from each Local Authority.
1-4 people will require at least one bathroom and 1 WC which can be situated in the bathroom. So, most houses will have a main family bathroom with shower, sink and WC and for houses with up to 4 tenants in, this is all that is required.
Once you get to 5 tenants in a property you will be required to still have a bathroom with WC but you will also have to have a SECOND WC which can be separate or within a second bathroom.
Once you get to 6-10 people in a shared house then you will be required to provide AT LEAST TWO bathrooms with TWO WCs, one of which can be within one of the main bathrooms. So, in essenc, you need to main communal bathrooms and a separate downstairs WC as a minimum if you wish to have 6-10 tenants in your property. This is where a lot of landlords fall short and fail to think about the details in shared houses.
A point to note, if you have any Ensuites in your property then the room they are in is cancelled out as they have their own facilities. So, if you had a 5 bed HMO with one ensuite main bedroom, the way the local authority would look at it, would be as if it was a FOUR-person HMO and thus you will only require ONE bathroom with WC in it as explained above. Another example would be a 6-bedroom shared house with all ensuites, wouldn’t require any communal bathrooms as they all have their own.
I hope that this article was useful for both potential landlords so they won’t make any mistakes or current landlords just to reassure they are meeting the correct standards. If you have any questions of want to talk further about your accommodation standards then why not book in for Relocation PAs FREE no obligation one Hour consultation where we would be delighted to advise you on your current accommodation or potential properties you might be looking to buy and turn into HMOs. Just go to our website and book in and we will arrange a meeting with you. If you have any other questions then don’t hesitate to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help.
Just remember it’s the details that count! Obviously unless you don’t want to worry about details in which case you could use a management agent like Relocation PA to worry about that for you!